N is for Navigators

1400 map of the Atlantic, from Treaty of Tordesillas. Photo by kajmeister in Lisbon.

Have you ever wondered why the Brazilians speak Portuguese? All of South and Central America were overrun with Spanish colonizers–except for Brazil.

The pope brokered a deal with the countries on the Iberian Peninsula to split the world in two halves. The Portuguese got everything to the east, and the Spanish got everything to the west. Easy peasy. The Treaty of Tordesillas.

The Royal Bastard of Fond Memory

Portugal is the stubborn left arm of land on the Iberian Peninsula, never willing to be absorbed. They have their own language, distinctive music, and naval heroes. They timed their independence well, coming together as a country when Spain was still a shattered group of provinces. It helped to have a royal bastard who reigned for nearly half a century.

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F is for Fluyt

Ships. So. Many. Ships!

J. M. Turner “The Harbor at Dieppe,” from Wikipedia.

Apparently, ship painting is a huge sub-genre unto itself, which I was unaware of until I started sourcing pictures for this post. This post is about the Dutch ship, the fluyt, which turned the Dutch into the pre-eminent traders from the 15th century on. But it’s also a weensy bit about what ships came before.

Not so Tall and Stately

I mentioned with the Doge that the Venetians attacked Constantinople and used ships that ferried armor and horses. This is a view of the Venetian navy vessel. Not so cargo-based, is it?

Venetian war ship, painted by Francesco Guardi, wikipedia
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